Renziehausen Park Hosts 54th Annual
International Village Special Section: Education Top five classroom trends Page 13
Fall 2013 icmags.com
School & City News Page 22
Surviving a Stroke with FAST Action The new Primary Stroke Center at UPMC McKeesport strives to improve outcomes.
Every year, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke. “Strokes can happen to anyone, at any time,” says Edward Mistler, DO, medical director, Primary Stroke Center at UPMC McKeesport. “The biggest mistake people make is thinking it won’t happen to them.” In May 2013, UPMC McKeesport was awarded certification as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. The center’s services include a multi-disciplinary stroke team, CT scan imaging, administering tPA (a clot-busting drug to help prevent brain damage), rehabilitation, support groups, and much more.
While you can’t do anything about your age, family history, or ethnicity (African Americans have a higher incidence of stroke), you can control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking. “It’s far better to prevent a stroke than to deal with the consequences,” says Dr. Mistler. “We want everyone to be aware of stroke symptoms and know that they can get critical expert care here in their community.”
Think FAST Use this simple acronym to help determine whether you’re witnessing a stroke:
Face: Can the person smile (or does one side of the face droop)?
Arms: Can the person raise both arms (or does one side drift downward)?
Speech: Can the person speak clearly or repeat a simple phrase?
Time: Call 911 immediately if someone exhibits any of these warning signs!
Act FAST Strokes require immediate medical attention, so knowing the warning signs is crucial. Stroke symptoms can include sudden onset of:
What you can do “Patients and family members often ignore stroke symptoms, thinking they can sleep it off,” says Rani Kumar, MD, medical director, UPMC McKeesport’s Emergency Department. “The faster you get to a hospital that offers highly specialized stroke care, the better your chances for survival and a full recovery.” “Heart disease increases your chances of having a stroke, so it’s important to control the risk factors,” says Dr. Kumar.
• Paralysis or weakness in the face or limbs, especially on one side of the body • Problems with balance or walking • Vision problems • Slurred speech • Sudden onset of confusion • Problems speaking or understanding • Severe headache To learn more about UPMC McKeesport’s Primary Stroke Center and its services, visit UPMCMcKeesport.com/stroke. This advertorial has been provided by UPMC. © 2013 UPMC
Living With Incontinence Urinary incontinence — a common problem affecting men and women of all ages — can be embarrassing. But it can be surprisingly easy to fix.
Millions of Americans experience bladder control issues: uncontrollable leakage, frequent urination, that “gotta go right now” feeling or difficulty urinating. It can be a mild nuisance — losing a few drops of urine while laughing — or socially and emotionally devastating as it forces people to avoid social gatherings for fear of having an accident. The American Urological Association estimates 50 percent of all women and 30 percent of all men will have bladder control issues during their lifetime.
Talk to your doctor If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk to your primary care physician (PCP) about seeing a urologist: • Blood in your urine • Recurrent urinary tract infections • Poor bladder control, including urine leakage • Difficulty urinating • Possible kidney stones
Although incontinence is a common problem, it should not be considered normal, says Dafe Ogagan, MD, a urologist at UPMC McKeesport. “Most people wait too long to seek treatment, which means the bladder suffers. The sooner it’s diagnosed, the easier it is to treat,” says Dr. Ogagan, who recently opened a joint practice, University of Pittsburgh Physicians Urology McKeesport, with John Franz, MD.
A problem for men and women Men often have symptoms resulting from an enlarged prostate, while women can experience incontinence due to weak muscles — often due to pregnancy and childbirth. In both men and women, damaged nerves due to illness or trauma can result in signals sent to the bladder at the wrong time, or they can fail to signal the brain when the bladder is full. Other factors include obesity, cough, constipation, or surgery in the prostate or pelvic areas. Urinary incontinence also increases with age for both men and women, but that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, says Dr. Franz. He advises anyone having bladder control problems to see a doctor. “It’s a medical condition with a variety of causes and, in most cases, it can be treated effectively,” he says. “There’s no need to suffer in silence.” Both doctors agree it’s important to seek immediate medical attention if there is any sign of blood in the urine. A variety of treatment options are available, depending on the type of incontinence and gender. It may include simple exercises, medicines, special devices, or surgical procedures.
Minimize your risk: • Kegel exercises. Doing pelvic floor exercises can strengthen muscles supporting the uterus (in women), bladder, and small intestine. • Weight loss. Losing weight can relieve strain on your bladder and pelvic floor. • Stop smoking. Coughing strains the pelvic floor. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Franz, Dr. Ogagan, or another urologist, visit UPMC.com/FindADoctor, or call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). This advertorial has been provided by UPMC. © 2013 UPMC
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features 13 Special Section: Education Top five classroom trends; jobs of the future; choosing the right college; finding the right preschool.
19 Best Pets McKeesport Area resident shares their story of man’s best friend.
20 Angora Gardens — Not Just a Walk
in the Park White Oak Park’s 200 pristine acres promote free health and wellness seminars in an open space.
on the cover In August, members of the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh dance troupe performed at the McKeesport International Village Festival in Renziehausen Park.
departments 4 6 8 10
From the Publisher IN the Loop IN Person
22 32 40
School District News City News INCognito
sponsored content 7 Jefferson Hills Surgical Specialists
IN Community is a publication dedicated to representing, encouraging and promoting the McKeesport area and its comprising municipalities by focusing on the talents and gifts of the people who live and work here. Our goal is to provide readers with the most informative and professional regional publication in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 3
PUBLISHER PUBLISHER Wayne Dollard EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Julie Talerico email@example.com REGIONAL EDITORS Mark Berton [South, West and Erie] firstname.lastname@example.org
My wife, Lisa, and I with our three sons (l to r): Jordan, Brenden and Tyler, on the beach in Ocean City, Maryland.
In a few months, we will celebrate IN Community Magazines’ 10th anniversary! Our first magazine—IN Monroeville—premiered in 2004, and we’ve since grown to more than 35 publications, serving communities north, east, south and west of Pittsburgh, as well as our quarterly Designing Home Lifestyles magazine. Earlier this year, we added a new magazine to our publishing family—Faith Pittsburgh—that has received tremendous response from readers. As we enter our next decade in publishing, we thought it fitting to give IN Community Magazines a new look (see far right) to reflect our mission to become a top source of information in your community. This issue, we welcome editorial director, Julie Talerico, who has been in publishing for nearly 30 years, including the past 10 years as editor-in-chief Case International of Pittsburgh Magazine. We are excited to have her Village lead us through our next growth stage, producing and developing high-quality publications. Over the years, our school and township partners have been a vital part of IN Community, and we thank you for your support. We also thank our advertisers, many who have been with us from the beginning. As we head into fall and our kids and teenagers start back to school and college, we hope you’ll take time to read this publication. We welcome your feedback! SUMMER 2013
Renziehausen Park Hosts 54th Annual
Special Section: Education Top five classroom trends Page 13
Fall 2013 icmags.com
School & Township News Page 22
Wayne Dollard Publisher
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IN Community Magazines 603 East McMurray Road McMurray, PA 15317 724/942-0940; Fax: 724/942-0968 icmags.com Please recycle this magazine when you are through enjoying it.
Locust Grove Adds Ways to
Help Seniors with Building Addition
When a neighbor puts an addition on their house, it doesn’t change who your neighbor is. And with Locust Grove’s new addition of an assisted living facility and secured memory-care program, West Mifflin can continue to expect the same great senior care and community spirit that they’ve enjoyed for many years. The program offers 24-hour nursing staff, and will serve as resource and support center for caregivers as well. The assisted living part of the addition will allow residents to age in place, giving them the dignity and confidence of remaining in their home throughout their golden years. Like most senior living facilities of quality, Locust Grove’s space is limited, so interested seniors should inquire early about being one of the first in line. For more information about Locust Grove, or to schedule a lunch and a tour call 412.461.7210. They are located conveniently at 4043 Irene Street in West Mifflin.
McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 5
The Oaks Retirement Home
The residents of The Oaks Retirement Home enjoyed a special brunch on August 25, which was highlighted with a performance by Frank Sinatra. No, not the real Sinatra, but a great tribute by local entertainer, Nick Fiasco. The event was sponsored by the White Oak Recreation Board, with the help of Jean Lefever, president of The Oaks tenant council.
White Oak Events
Come and enjoy these fall and holiday events!
Fall Dances for Grades 5 – 8, held at the White Oak Athletic Association gym. -Saturday, Sept. 21 -Saturday, Oct. 19 -Friday, Nov. 15 -Friday, Dec. 20 Halloween Parade – Oct. 26 Fall Craft Show – Dec. 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., held at the White Oak Athletic Association gym.
What’s news in McKeesport
Overly's Country Christmas Bus Trip – Dec. 14 An Evening with Santa – Dec. 8, 6 p.m. at White Oak Athletic Association gym For more information on these and other events, please visit the borough website at woboro.com.
New MYCS Training Center
With the support of The Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust, Mon Yough Community Services (MYCS) of McKeesport, has officially broken ground for their Edith L. Trees Training Wing. The new wing will be an addition to the Vocational Business Alliance Market Street Mail program located at 500 Market Street. This program provides a full range of bulk mail services while offering valuable paid work training to individuals from the local community with intellectual disabilities. For more information on Mon Yough Community Services, please visit the website, MYCS.org or call 412.675.6927.
Halloween Parade Don't miss the Halloween Parade on Saturday, Oct.26 at Renziehausen Park's Main Pavilion from 10 a.m. – 12 noon. Plenty of ghosts and goblins will be on hand for a frightful good time! Salute to Santa Parade Santa comes early on Saturday, Nov. 16 as citizens gather downtown at 5th Avenue from 11 a.m. – 12 noon.
McKeesport Little Theater
McKeesport Little Theater will be presenting the musical, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying through Sept. 29. The group will be presenting The Westing Game in November, a thrilling murder mystery which will run from Nov. 8 – Nov. 24. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at McKeesportLittleTheater.com. For information, please call 412.673.1100.
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PINK IS ALWAYS “IN” AT
JEFFERSON HILLS SURGICAL SPECIALISTS The month of October is an exciting month that celebrates the advances made in the treatment of breast cancer. Cure rates for early stage breast cancer are over 90 percent. Pink ribbons, hats, shoes and more are a daily reminder that there is much support for this cancer which affects one in eight women over the course of their lifetime. Despite all the positives, when a woman is faced with the reality of a breast cancer diagnosis, her thoughts often turn fearful: How am I going to get through all of this? Where can I turn? Am I going to live or die? Fortunately, having a comprehensive breast program close to home can help ease that anxiety tremendously. Led by Dr. Mark Gannon of Jefferson Hills Surgical Specialists, the breast program provides a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary, well-coordinated approach for the care of breast health and breast cancer patients. The emphasis is on moving women (and sometimes men) through their diagnostic imaging, biopsy, surgery and further treatments as efficiently as possible. “Our program prides itself on how quickly we can have patients seen in our office for surgical consultation, sometimes even the same day,” said Dr. Gannon. “We are in constant communication with specialists in the program including diagnostic imaging, medical oncology, radiation oncology and plastic surgery. Every effort is made
to streamline the care and appointments needed.” Drawing on his 22 years of extensive breast surgery experience, Dr. Gannon is also the lead breast surgeon for the program utilizing the latest surgical techniques for sentinel node biopsy, breast-conserving surgery and mastectomy with immediate reconstruction in conjunction with a plastic surgeon. At the time of the initial surgical consultation, women are given a thorough explanation of their options and surgical recommendations by Dr. Gannon who allows plenty of time for questions to be answered. For most patients, the surgery is scheduled as quickly as possible, usually within one to two weeks. A key part of the efficiency of the comprehensive breast program is the nurse navigator, Brenda Cline, RN, MSN. Brenda is nationally certified as a breast patient navigator. She meets patients at the time of biopsy and then provides constant support and education as they go through their diagnosis and treatment, following them for a year or more. Brenda sees the patient with the surgeon at the initial consultation, on the day of surgery and at follow-up visits. She also expedites testing and appointments, assesses barriers to treatment such as insurance issues, and is in close communication with all the specialists involved in the patient’s care. “Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is never easy,” said Brenda. “But if we can simplify this complicated process, most patients are very pleased and grateful.” To inquire about the Comprehensive Breast Program, contact Brenda Cline, RN, MSN at 412-469-5989. For a surgical consultation at Jefferson Hills Surgical Specialists, please call 412-469-7110. This Industry Insight highlights one specialty area of Jefferson Hills Surgical Specialists. Brenda Cline, RN, MSN, CBPN-IC
Mark P. Gannon, MD
Certified Breast Patient Navigator for Imaging and Cancer Care; Member, Oncology Nursing Society; Professional Member, National Consortium of Breast Centers
Medical Director, Comprehensive Breast Program; Fellow, American College of Surgeons; Member, American Society of Breast Surgeons
Main Office 1200 Brooks Lane, Suite 170 Jefferson Hills, PA 15025 Bethel Park 1000 Higbee Drive, Suite 102 Bethel Park, PA 15102
charlerOi 1200 McKean Avenue, Suite 107 Charleroi, PA 15022
BrentwOOd 3720 Brownsville Road Pittsburgh, PA 15227
SPeerS 17 Arentzen Boulevard, Suite 102 Charleroi, PA 15022 McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 7
inPerson McKeesport Musician Mikey Dee Thinks Globally, Acts Locally It would be the biggest honor of my life to be inducted into into the McKeesport High School Hall of Fame.
By Jennifer Brozak
ost lifelong musicians dream of fame and fortune and of someday reaching global recognition. And while those aspirations are certainly desirable and understandable, popular and prolific McKeesport musician Mikey Dee has consciously dedicated much of his career to promoting the positive in his native community. Since 2000, Dee has volunteered his time as the entertainment coordinator for McKeesport International Village, the three-day annual event that takes place in Renziehausen Park. This year also marked his tenth year serving as the event’s master of ceremonies. 8 724.942.0940 to advertise | McKeesport Area
Dee, 39, who says he has been attending this event his whole life, first performed at the festival with his grandfather in 1990. Because of his familiarity serving as a performer at the event each year, he attended a planning meeting and was named entertainment coordinator. In this role, he seeks out and schedules a variety of dance and musical acts that represent the 21 different ethnic groups who participate in the International Village. “Each year, we try to do something different. We’re always working on finding fresh entertainment to perform. We make a point of finding new groups each year,” he explains. Dee’s diverse musical experience is evident in his repertoire. As a performer, he plays
everything from oldies to ballroom music to polkas to tamburitza music. It’s no surprise, then, that Dee has music in his blood. Raised in what he refers to as a 'broken home,' he spent a great deal of time with his grandfather, Joe Pavlecic, while his mother worked two jobs to support him. “My grandfather was my idol,” says Dee, whose birth name is Duwayne Michael Dorich. “When I was 4 or 5, my grandfather, who was a musician, taught me my first chords on the guitar.” It wasn’t long before his grandfather noticed that Dee had a knack for recognizing and recreating the patterns inherent in music
simply by hearing them, a phenomenon known as 'playing by ear.' “My grandfather would tape his performances, and I would sit on the edge of the bed, listening to them, and recreating them without the benefit of the [sheet] music. At that point, my grandfather knew that I had something special,” he recalls. Dee’s grandfather, who was skilled at playing a number of different instruments, taught Dee how to play guitar, bass and tamburitza instruments. In the third grade, Dee learned how to read music while studying clarinet and saxophone. By the time he had become a teenager, Dee had experience playing “everything but the trumpet,” he says, and had been exposed to nearly every style and genre of music.
In addition to volunteering his time with the International Village, Dee plays about 250 gigs a year with various bands, as a solo artist, duo, trio or with his own Mikey Dee Polka Band or Mikey Dee Tamburica Stars. His polka band has recorded three albums and his latest recording "BANG!" received three nominations from the National Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame in 2009, including Recording of the Year, Band of the Year and Best New Original Song. He has worked as a studio musician on multiple occasions and volunteers his musical talents for a number of hospitals and senior citizens groups. He has also dedicated performances during the McKeesport Festival of Trees and other local holiday events. Dee, who also holds a full-time job as a route driver for Four Seasons Dry Cleaners, says that playing music can certainly be a “love of labor.” “It can be difficult to do what I do,” he says, referring to his grueling performance schedule and the fact that his 6’5”, 300-pound frame makes him easily recognizable in public. “But I enjoy the fact that through my music, I get to bring joy to a lot of different people.”
“My grandfather played a lot of different instruments, and my mom listened to popular bands of the time, such as Chicago, Earth, Wind & Fire, and she was a huge Beatles fan. My stepfather liked George Strait and Alabama. At the same time, I was also learning about musicians like Nat King Cole and Sinatra. I was getting music from all directions,” he explains. “I come from a very musically inclined family.” In ninth grade, Dee played string bass in the high school symphony and earned second chair in the PMEA AllDistrict Orchestra. In 1988, while still in high school, Dee established the first incarnation of his “Mikey Dee Band,” which is currently celebrating 25 years. Since then, Dee has gone on to record 20 albums and seven singles.
This fall, Dee will travel to Phoenix, Arizona to participate in the Tamburitza Extravaganza 2013, an annual event sponsored by the Tamburitza Association of America. His band was one of only 20 bands selected for the event nationwide. Despite the widespread kudos, the awards and the professional recognition, there is one accolade that Dee, a graduate of McKeesport Area High School, eventually hopes to achieve from his career: induction into the McKeesport High School Hall of Fame, which is established through the McKeesport High School Alumni & Friends Association. “It would be the biggest honor of my life to be inducted into their Hall of Fame,” he says. For more information on Dee and his bands, please visit mikeydeeband.com.
McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 9
inEVENTS A White Oak Kind of Summer The White Oak
Community got together at two fun events this summer for people of all ages. Community Day was held on August 3 and excellent weather prevailed for a great day outdoors! Water games, a bouncy castle and vendor booths were featured at this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s event. The Community Softball Game was held on June 16 and a good time was had by all who attended.
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The Greater Pittsburgh Soapbox Derby In mid-June,
36 area youths gathered to test their driving skills at the Greater Pittsburgh Soapbox Derby in McKeesport on Eden Park Boulevard. A little rain made the track a bit more interesting, but all the kids ran a good race. One of the winners, 13 year-old Macaila Ziolkowski went on to become the only national winner at the championships in Akron, Ohio in the Stock Division. PHOTOS BY BEN CHRONISTER
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EDUCATION McKEESPORT AREA
hen it comes to education, too much is never enough. And in a world where job competition is fierce, parents believe the more educated their child is, the better their chances of getting that rewarding, high-salaried position that will allow them to grow as a professional, support a family and pad their 401(k). But ask any high school junior what they plan on majoring in, and you’re almost guaranteed to be met with a blank stare.
Traditional college is a smart choice, but for today’s students, other options are available that do not require a degree. The job market indicates an increasing demand for skilled trades, non-degreed and service professionals which is quickly outpacing those who can deliver it. In this special section, we take a look at college preparation — from choosing the right preschool to prepping for SATs, as well as some alternatives to college that promise a bright future without the need for a four-year degree. McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 13
Top Education Trends O
ne thing is for sure; school is not what it used to be. No longer are college students expected to sit for long periods of time in one classroom, listening to one professor while feverishly taking notes. Today, students have a wide array of schooling options, study tools and reference materials that make it easier to get the grade. Among these latest trends are:
Social Media: Social media has given students access to a whole new way of communicating and learning. In todayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s classrooms, professors are blogging, maintaining Twitter and Facebook accounts and even communicating with students through these mediums. Students also have access to YouTube and may even be required to produce and post videos as a part of their learning curriculum. Students may find it helpful to use social media techniques to find employment since many sites, such as LinkedIn, give job seekers the venue to create resumes and profiles that are searchable by potential employers. Graduates can also begin networking with professionals in their desired field.
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Online Learning: No longer is traveling to a school building and sitting at a desk beside 25 other students part of school requirements. Students who want to pursue chosen fields of study can learn from home and study at their own pace laptop style. In fact, according to the Bacon Survey Research Group, the number of students enrolled in at least one online course increased for the ninth straight year. The study reports that the number of students taking online courses has surpassed six million and nearly one-third of all students in higher education are taking at least one online course. Some universities such as the University of CaliforniaBerkeley, Johns Hopkins University and Stanford, even offer free online
courses, a trend that is expected to continue in coming years.
Massive Open Online Course: Massive open online course, or MOOC, is a relatively new way for students to learn. MOOC is a course that is offered exclusively online to provide large interactive participation and open access through the Internet. MOOCs offer all of the traditional types of course materials, but also provide interactive user forums that help build communities among students and teachers and teaching assistants. These free courses only require the use of a computer and an Internet connection. As an extra incentive, there is some discussion about awarding official college credits to students who take these
courses, which continue to grow in popularity around the globe, as they are offered in nearly 200 countries in 44 different languages and have more than 4,500 testing centers.
Better Job Market: Students graduating now may enter a better job market than students from previous years. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, companies expect to hire 9 percent more 2012 graduates than in 2011. And, students who have studied in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) have even greater odds of landing a job.
Game-Based Learning: While still a new concept for both students and teachers alike, game-based learning, or GBL, is a method of learning that is growing in popularity and has proven to be
an effective method of teaching. These games are designed exclusively to provide educational value to students in any type of educational environment. They are designed to teach students about certain subjects, reinforce growth and development, encourage the development of new skills, or understand an event that took place in history. GBL methods include boards, cards and video games and incorporate methods like learning simulations with both serious
games and video games into the classroom. In addition, this method offers both gameplay and subject matter so that students can easily remember what they have learned and get ready to apply it in the real world. Although this method is still in its infancy, it is expected to expand in growth in the coming years. The way we learn is changing and it is broadening our horizons, our skills and our possibilities.
The number of students taking online courses has surpassed
and nearly one-third of all students in higher education are taking at least one online course.
McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 15
hile a college degree does garner some credibility and an advantage in finding a well-paying job, there has been an increase in demand for people who have the right skills, and not necessarily a degree, in certain industries. According to a recent story featured in Forbes magazine, jobs of the future are comparably â&#x20AC;&#x153;lowskilled,â&#x20AC;? meaning they still require a lot of all-around intelligence to succeed, but not a degree. For example, carpentry has experienced a 56 percent growth, and medical secretaries have seen an increase of 41 percent in recent years. Other top jobs include web developers, which has a median salary of more than $75,000 a year and has risen in popularity among those who are self-taught or who have only a minimal amount of college training. In fact, the demand for people in this field is so great that
companies do not view it as a disadvantage if the person does not have a college degree, particularly the smaller start-up companies. Plumbers can make more than $46,000, a profession that is expected to grow 26 percent in the next few years. Paralegal assistants, electricians and industrial machine repairers are also professions that can expect an annual salary of more than $46,000. Administrative executive assistants could see a salary of more than $34,000. Bookkeepers and pest control specialists can earn more than $30,000, while receptionists and skin care specialists may be paid more than $25,000. A possible reason for this recent upward trend in jobs that do not require a college degree, may be that there is a heavier demand for people who offer actual services and specific skill sets. Caring for an aging population is one of the reasons that jobs like home health aides and personal care aides
Some in-demand professions that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t require a four-year degree.
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Carpentry has experienced a growth of
are at the top of the fastest growing jobs list compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, as reported by CareerCast.com. But right below these two occupations are biomedical engineers, which anticipates a 61 percent growth by 2020. Jobs such as brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons and tile and marble setters, expect to grow at least 60 percent by 2020. Veterinary technicians and technologists are expected to grow in demand by 52 percent. Reinforcing iron and rebar workers will increase by nearly 47 percent, physical therapy assistants by 46 percent, pipelayers and steamfitters by 45 percent, meeting and event planners by 44 percent and diagnostic medical sonographers by 43 percent. These fields all rank near the top of the list in popularity and expected job growth.
Biomedical engineering anticipates growth of
According to Forbes, many of these types of jobs do not require a college education because a person could potentially learn more about them with on-the-job training as opposed to sitting in a college classroom. Many people who enter "non-degreed" professions are self-taught and begin freelancing with a few clients. Through word-of-mouth, they are able to grow enough to launch their own business. For the most part, the trend remains that college graduates still stand to earn more in their lifetimes than nongraduates, as companies will continue to look for the bachelorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree on a resume. However, there is a bright future for non-graduates with much potential if they have the desire and motivation to be successful.
Physical therapy assistant jobs will increase by
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Finding the Right Preschool
Bidwell Training Center is a non-profit post-secondary career school. Recognized as a 2012 “School of Excellence” by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Bidwell Training Center 412.323.4000 • www.bidwell-training.org
Choosing the Right College You made it. You got through grade school, succeeded in high school, and now the search begins…for the perfect college. You may already have your eye on a school, or you may be keeping your options open. Whatever your situation, there are some pointers to keep in mind when making your decision. To start, make a list of the colleges in which you are most interested. Divide the list into three categories: top choices, acceptable choices and sure-things. You also may want to add the reasons they interest you and the factors that make them unique. Seek out advice from those you trust – high school teachers, guidance counselors, friends and family members or school alumni – and ask why they favor a particular school. Also consider your educational goals and the field of study you would like to pursue. If one of your top choices does not offer that particular major, it may be safe to scratch it off your list. Another important component to consider is the social atmosphere and the type of housing accommodations the school has to offer. Do you want to attend a school where the students never sleep, or would you prefer to live in a quiet, non-party environment? Make sure the school that you choose will make you feel comfortable so you can succeed academically. Seek out printed information about the school. Directories, websites, maps and newsletters will help you navigate the campus and enable you to decide if this is where you want to spend the next four, or more, years. Lastly, talk to college representatives and staff on campus. Interview them about their likes and dislikes about the school, the academic and non-academic programs that the school offers and the types of financial aid that are available. Most importantly, make sure the school will meet your needs and help you to excel in whatever path you choose.
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Deciding on a preschool for your child is an important decision requiring a lot of thought and research. You want your child’s first experience in school to be a positive one filled with happy memories. There are several factors to keep in mind as you make your decision. Among the first, should be the location of the school. Do you want something that is close to home or close to work? How far are you willing to drive? Another consideration is the school’s reputation. Do you have any friends who send their children to the school or who know any of the staff? Talk to them while doing your research and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions. The Child Care Aware hotline, 1.800.424.2246, can give you the number of a local childcare referral agency, which can provide you with the names of preschools in the area. Before calling the school, make a list of all of the questions that are important to you, such as teacher to student ratio, the staff’s credentials, what types of activities the kids engage in and what is the level of progression from year to year. Also, be sure to ask if the school is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a sign that the school is trustworthy and reliable. If you are allowed to visit the school, take a tour and perhaps observe the class where your child would be attending. During this visit, observe how the teachers interact with the kids, their demeanor toward each other and their overall personality. Finally, observe the children themselves. If they are happy in their surroundings and you feel comfortable, it just may be the perfect school for your child!
t s e B s t Pe
ocks is a loveable little guy that belongs to Annette James, administrative assistant to Mayor Cherepko. Socks was found abandoned in a portable toilet over 11 years ago along the Boston Trail. He was adopted by Annette's parents from the Fallen Timber Animal Shelter in Elizabeth. When Annette's parents passed away, she decided to take him home where he has lived happily ever since. â&#x2013;
â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Our thanks to Annette for sending her photo of Socks. McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 19
Angora Gardens Not just a walk in the park B y Mike Fer en ce
ngora Gardens, an almost-heavenly setting at 3 Muse Lane in White Oak Park has served Mon Valley residents for over 25 years. The campus features a distinguished 1800s farmhouse, barn and gazebo with an amazing view of the outdoor gardens, open field and thick woods. There’s even a koi pond to allow for a few moments of meditation. The historic property was the original location of a block house built by the the U.S. Government in 1783 which protected settlers from invaders. Adam Reburn was placed in charge of the block house and it was called Reburn’s Station. Reburn later purchased the property which included 200 acres of land for his homestead. In the mid-1880s, John J. Muse, who was active in politics in Allegheny County, purchased the property. Muse served as treasurer of Allegheny County from 1858 to 1859 and was also in the state legislature. He built the original, colonial farmhouse which stills stands today. In 1988 Angora Gardens was founded and managed by Mon Yough Community Services (MYCS) for Allegheny County. From the start, Angora Gardens was dedicated to improving the lives of individuals in need. “Three years ago, we redirected our focus,” explains Darlene Williams, facilities manager. “We now promote free health and wellness seminars in an open space and we're open to all communities in the surrounding area.” A healthy mind, body and spirit are essential to a happy lifestyle and Angora Gardens is endeavoring to make this possible for all area residents. It’s open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Free classes and seminars are offered on a wide range of topics including diet and exercise, nutrition, CPR, meditation workshops, gardening, yoga for beginners, finance, holistic health, fitness, arts and crafts and special classes for seniors. Participants pay only for materials needed for a specific class. The facility is also available for private gatherings ranging from business meetings to bridal showers, weddings, fundraisers and even birthday parties. Nestled on three acres in White Oak Park, Angora Gardens creates a peaceful backdrop for events. Prior to becoming a health and wellness facility, Angora Gardens provided rehabilitation and recovery for Mon Yough participants through caring for the gardens and animals, specifically angora rabbits for which the gardens are named. The interaction with the animals and planting and tending flowers, fruits and vegetables was conducive to forming relationships with the clients counseled by MYCS. “We treated people along the entire spectrum of mental illness at MYCS,” explains Loretta Carr, social rehabilitation specialist and a
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A beautiful Angora rabbit for which the gardens are named.
Angora rabbits whose coats produce the luxurious angora sweaters known for their silky, fluffy texture, first came to prominence around 1723 when sailors visited the Turkish port of Angora. The native women were wearing beautiful shawls made of the Angora fur. The enterprising sailors carried a few of the adorable creatures back to France with them and changed the clothing industry for evermore. The warmth and texture of garments made from the wool made them instantly popular with the French. There are different breeds of Angora rabbits, including English, French, Satin, Giant and German. The rabbits are known for their docile nature and calm disposition. They make wonderful pets and are gentle with children.
talented artist. Carr painted several murals at the gardens which still decorate the walls of the gardens. The murals were done with the help of her many clients she and others counseled over the years and reflect everyday events that occurred at Angora Gardens. “There are paintings of people caring for the rabbits, sunflowers, plants and vegetables that we grew. They just loved it and the murals are lasting proof of that,” Carr adds. While the cute and cuddly angora rabbits are no longer the main attraction at Angora Gardens, their presence is still acknowledged. Barely a day goes by where a visitor doesn’t ask about the adorable balls of fur. For more information on Angora Gardens, please call 412.675.6927 or email email@example.com. ■ McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 21
McKeesport Area School Board of Directors Trisha Gadson Christopher Halasyznski Mark Holtzman
Dear MASD Resident, I would personally like to thank everyone for their input, contributions and continued support as the district shifts its building configurations and educational programming to better meet the needs of our students and families. Francis McClure Primary and Twin Rivers Primary are now open and serving grades K-2 while Francis McClure Intermediate and Twin Rivers Intermediate are now open and serving grades 3-5. The eagerly anticipated opening of the new Twin Rivers Primary / Intermediate building is on schedule for January 2014. Founders Hall Middle School now serves grades 6-8 with grade 6 temporarily housed at the former White Oak Elementary site as construction on the 6th grade wing is slated to begin in October.
Mary Jane Keller Terri Kisan Steven Kondrosky Joseph Lopretto Patricia Maksin Thomas Maglicco Welcome to a new school year! Tiger Pride most often is thought to be about athletics and activities, but Tiger Pride must include all of our students from day one! We must
Mc Keesport ARE A SC HO O L DI ST RI C T News
instill Tiger Pride as Our students are now experiencing the World Languages programming in grades K-5 that will prepare many of them to enter our World Languages Academy, scheduled to open at Francis McClure for the 2014-2015 school year. The World Language Academy will complement our successful and popular AIMS (Academy in Math and Science) program at Twin Rivers Intermediate and Foundersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Hall. Look for additional programming details in our next issue of IN Community Magazine-McKeesport Area, as this issue highlights many of our district policies that must be distributed annually for students and families. Also featured in this issue is our Kindergarten staggered start that welcomes the newest generation into Tiger Country. Please take the time to visit www.mckasd.net to keep up with your schools and remain actively involved in the educational process. Thank you for everything you do for the children of the McKeesport Area School District. Yours in Education, Timothy M. Gabauer, Ed.D Superintendent
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our students work every day learning new and wonderful skills. Tiger Pride includes our staff and administration as they continually work at new and better ways to meet student needs. Tiger Pride begins with the School Board of Directors as we strive to ensure the best facilities and curriculum this community can afford. As we move through this school year, we invite you to be an active participant in all aspects of the educational process. Your participation is absolutely vital to our success. Tiger Pride includes you, too! The McKeesport Area School Board of Directors wishes you and your child a successful school year full of Tiger Pride and accomplishment! Sincerely, Mrs. Patricia Maksin MASD School Board President
Francis McClure Intermediate: Grades 3 - 5 Twin Rivers Intermediate (Temporarily Housed at G.W.): Grades 3 - 5 Founders' Hall Annex (Temporarily Housed at White Oak): Grade 6 Founders' Hall: Grades 7 - 8 High School: Grades 9 - 12 All Twin Rivers students move into the new building January 2014
Updated Building Schedules
Founders' Hall Annex (6th Grade)
Francis McClure and Twin Rivers Intermediate
Francis McClure and Twin Rivers Primary
East End Academy
Dress Code Changes
for the Public
The Dress Code for the McKeesport Area School District can be found on our website, www.mckasd.net A revision for the 2013 -2014 school year has been made to allow cargo shorts and pants in all grades throughout the District.
Due to security changes within the McKeesport Area School District, the stadium and track will be closed to the public every Monday through Friday until 4 p.m., each day. The track will be accessible to the public on weekdays from 4 p.m. until dusk and on the weekends, provided no school activity is taking place.
Before & After School Childcare MASD has partnered with an accredited childcare provider to offer before and after school child care services on-site. For information regarding on-site services, please call 412-678-1169. MASD continues its strong partnerships with many local child care providers for off-site child care services.
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Twin Rivers Primary (Temporarily Housed at Centennial): Grades K - 2
Francis McClure Primary: Grades K - 2
Mc Keesport ARE A SC HO O L DI ST RI C T News
HOMECOMING 2013 On September 7, McKeesport Area School District welcomed over 400 alumni to a special tailgate event before the game. Tickets were sold out for it weeks in advance! Alumni representing several decades were in attendance, including 1994 and 2005 Championship Football Teams and varsity football coach, George Smith. A parade featuring clubs and organizations in our high school was held during pre-game and half-time. The Tigers won the game against Woodland Hills High School handily, 33-20. PHOTOS BY GARY ZAK
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Tanikwa Gonzales Kelly Hinerman Lena Kline Jamie Reddix Angel Redwood Mai Gooden
2005 CHAMPS McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 25
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Damon Ashley Zach Craven Charles Coles Will Gadson Brian Knight Dakota Roberts
The Homecoming Court attendants:
Mc Keesport ARE A SC HO O L DI ST RI C T News
M c K eesport A rea Code of Conduct/School Rules: In order to provide students with a safe environment that encourages learning, schools need to have rules regarding student conduct and behavior. The consequences for not following the rules can range anywhere from staying in during recess to expulsion. The severity of the consequences generally depends on the seriousness of the offense and the past history of the student(s) involved. Controlled Substance and Alcohol PA Criminal Code 2701: The McKeesport Area School District recognizes that the misuse of drugs is a serious problem with legal, physical and social implications for the whole school community. This policy, including its regulations and guidelines, is a coordinated effort to openly and effectively respond to the potential and current uses and abuses of alcohol, other drugs and mood-altering substances by students of McKeesport Area School District. If possible, confiscation of evidence. Notification will be made to the local police department, parent, and suspension from school and referral to School Board for possible disciplinary hearing. For purposes of this policy, controlled substances shall include all: controlled substances prohibited by federal and state law, look-alike drugs, alcoholic beverages, anabolic steroids, drug paraphernalia, any volatile solvents or inhalants, such as but not limited to glue and aerosol products including perfume sprays, prescription or patent drugs, except those for which permission for use in school has been granted pursuant to Board policy. A systematic process using effective and accountable professional techniques to mobilize school resources to remove the barriers to learning and, when the problem is beyond the scope of the school, to assist the parent/guardian and student with information so they may access services within the community. 26 McKeesport Area
For the purpose of this policy, under the influence shall include any consumption or ingestion of controlled substances by a student. Assault PA Criminal code 2701: A person is guilty of assault if he/she attempts to cause or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another. Negligently causes bodily injury on another with a deadly weapon or attempts physical menace to put another in fear of imminent serious bodily injury to professional staff member/student support for the victims. If necessary, notification will be made to the police department, suspension from school and referral to the School Board for possible disciplinary hearing. Disorderly Conduct PA Criminal Code Section 5503: Upon discretion of the faculty and recommendation of the building administrator, students may be issued a summary offense citation in compliance with Pennsylvania Criminal Code and possibly resulting in a minimum fine of fifty ($50.00) dollars. There may be referral to have a possible School Board hearing. Habitual Violation: When, in the judgment of the building administration, a student is habitually in violation of School Board policy, that student shall be subject to detention, suspension from school, school probation, a School Board discipline hearing, or court referral. Bullying/Cyberbullying Policy #249: The Board is committed to providing a safe, positive learning environment for district students. The Board recognizes that bullying creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, detracts from the safe environment necessary for student learning, and may lead to more serious violence. Therefore, the Board prohibits bullying by district students. Bullying means an intentional electronic, written, verbal or physical act or series of acts directed at another student or students, which occurs in a school setting and/
or outside a school setting, that is severe, persistent or pervasive and has the effect of doing any of the following: 1. Substantial interference with a studentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s education. 2. Creation of a threatening environment 3. Substantial disruption of the orderly operation of the school. Bullying, as defined in the policy, includes cyberbullying. School setting means in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated bus stop or at any activity sponsored, supervised or sanctioned by the school. The Board prohibits all forms of bullying by district students. The Board encourages students who have been bullied to promptly report such incidents to the building principal or designee. The Board directs that complaints of bullying shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action shall be taken when allegations are verified. Confidentiality of all parties shall be maintained, consistent with the districtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legal and investigative obligations. No reprisals or retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith reports of bullying. Each student shall be responsible to respect the rights of others and to ensure an atmosphere free from bullying. This policy shall be accessible in every classroom. The policy shall be posted in a prominent location within each school building and on the district web site, if available. Education: The district may develop and implement bullying prevention and intervention programs. Such programs shall provide district staff and students with appropriate training for effectively responding to, intervening in and reporting incidents of bullying. Consequences For Violations: A student who violates this policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action consistent with the Code of Student Conduct, which may include:
go to school, ask your child if someone is bullying or harassing him/her in any way. It is the policy of the McKeesport Area School District to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is deemed unacceptable conduct in the education and employment environment and will not be tolerated. It shall be a violation of this policy for any employee, or agent of the district through behavior or either verbal or of a physical sexual nature. Unlawful Harassment Policy #248: The Board strives to provide a safe, positive learning climate for students in the schools. Therefore, it shall be the policy of the district to maintain an educational environment in which harassment in any form is not tolerated. This policy includes the Title IX grievance procedure to address complaints of sex discrimination, as required by Title IX’s implementing regulation at 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(b). The district will ensure that the following procedures provide for
the prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging sex discrimination. The Board prohibits all forms of unlawful harassment of students and third parties by all district students and staff members, contracted individual, vendors, volunteers, and third parties in the schools. The Board encourages students and third parties who have been harassed to promptly report such incidents to the designated employees. The Board directs that complaints of harassment shall be investigated promptly, and corrective action be taken when allegations are substantiated. Confidentiality of all parties shall be maintained, consistent with the district’s legal and investigative obligations. The following procedures apply to complaints of sex discrimination (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence) by employees, students, or third parties. No reprisals nor retaliation shall occur as a result of good faith charges of harassment. Continued
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1. Counseling within the school. 2. Parental conference. 3. Loss of school privileges. 4. Transfer to another school building, classroom or school bus. 5. Exclusion from school sponsored activities. 6. Detention. 7. Suspension. 8. Expulsion. 9. Counseling/Therapy outside of school. 10. Referral to law enforcement officials. Bullying can be a problem for students in the upper elementary grades. Talk to your child about what to do if he/she ever witnesses or hears about a student being bullied. If your child complains about being bullied or harassed, find out exactly what has happened, and then talk to your child’s teacher, counselor or principal. Sometimes students are afraid to tell their parents that they’re being bullied. If your child suddenly doesn’t want to
S chool D istrict P olicies
Mc Keesport ARE A SC HO O L DI ST RI C T News
M c K eesport A rea For purposes of this policy, harassment shall consist of verbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct relating to an individual’s race, color, national origin/ ethnicity, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation or religion. Furthermore, sex discrimination (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence) by employees, students, or third parties when such conduct: 1. Is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it affects an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity or creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment. 2. Has the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic performance. 3. Otherwise adversely affects an individual’s learning opportunities. For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual violence shall consist of unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; and other inappropriate verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 1. Submission to such conduct is made explicably or implicitly a term or condition of a student’s academic status. 2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for academic or work decisions affecting the individual. 3. Such conduct deprives a student of educational aid, benefits, services or treatment. 4. Such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with the student’s school performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment. Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment, sexual assault and sexual violence include but are not limited to sexual flirtations, advances, touching or propositions; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s dress or body; sexually 28 McKeesport Area
degrading words to describe an individual; jokes; pin-ups, calendars; objects; graffiti; vulgar statements; abusive language; innuendos; references to sexual activities; overt sexual conduct; or any conduct that has the effect of unreasonably interfering with a student’s ability to work or learn or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning or working environment. In order to maintain an educational environment that discourages and prohibits unlawful harassment, the Board designates a Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator shall publish and disseminate this policy and the complaint procedure at least annually to students, parents/guardians, employees, independent contractors, vendors, and the public. The publication shall include the position, office address and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator. The administration shall be responsible to provide training for students and employees regarding all aspects of unlawful harassment. Each staff member shall be responsible to maintain an educational environment free from all forms of unlawful harassment. Each student shall be responsible to respect the rights of their fellow students and district employees and to ensure an atmosphere free from all forms of unlawful harassment. The building principal or designee shall be responsible to complete the following duties when receiving a complaint of unlawful harassment: • Inform the student or third party of the right to file a complaint and the complaint procedure. • Inform the complainant that s/he may be accompanied by a parent/guardian during all steps of the complaint procedure. • Provide to the student the complaint procedure which is outlined below. • Refer the complainant to the Title IX Coordinator.
Grievance Procedures: Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Complaint Procedure – Student/Third Party Complaint Procedure – Student/Third Party Step 1 – Reporting: A student or third party who believes s/he has been subject to conduct that constitutes a violation of this policy is encouraged to immediately report the incident to the building principal or Title IX Coordinator. A school Employee who suspects or is notified that a student has been subject to conduct that constitutes a violation of this policy shall immediately report the incident to the building principal or Title IX Coordinator. If the building principal is the subject of a complaint, the student, third party or employee shall report the incident directly to the Title IX Coordinator. The complainant or reporting employee is encouraged to use the report form attached to this policy, but oral complaints shall be acceptable. Step 2 – Investigation: Upon receiving a complaint of unlawful harassment, the building principal shall immediately notify the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator shall assign two Title IX Investigators to investigate the complaint. The investigation may consist of individual interviews with the complainant, the accused, and others with knowledge relative to the incident. The investigator may also evaluate any other information and materials relevant to the investigation. An adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of all complaints, including the opportunity for the parties to present witnesses and evidence. The obligation to conduct this investigation shall not be negated by the fact that a criminal investigation of the incident is pending or has been concluded. Step 3 – Investigative Report: The Title IX Investigator shall prepare a written report within ten (10) days, unless additional time to complete the investigation is required. Provisions will comply with law enforcement requests for cooperation and such cooperation may require the district to temporarily
a summary of the investigation, a determination of whether the complaint has been substantiated as factual and whether it is a violation of this policy, and a recommended disposition of the complaint. The district will keep the complaint and investigation confidential to the extent in which that is possible. The Title IX Investigators’ report shall be provided to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will prepare a final report which will be mailed to all parties with sixty (60) days of the complaint and include a notice of the opportunity for the parties to appeal the findings.
Step 4 – District Action: If the investigation results in a finding that the complaint is factual and constitutes a violation of this policy, the district shall take prompt, corrective action to ensure that such conduct ceases and will not recur. Disciplinary actions shall be consistent with the Student Code of Conduct, Board policies and district procedures, applicable collective bargaining agreements, and state and federal laws. If it is concluded that a student has knowingly made a false complaint under this policy, such student shall be subject to disciplinary action. The district will take steps to prevent recurrence of any discrimination. Possible disciplinary sanctions that could be taken to remedy this situation is removal from position or counseling. Discriminatory effects on the victim may be remedied with counseling and ongoing support. Title IX prohibits retaliation against any individual who files a complaint under Title IX or participates in a complaint investigation. Appeal Procedure 1. If the complainant is not satisfied with a finding of no violation of the policy or with the corrective action recommended in the investigative report, s/he may submit a written appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within fifteen (15) days. 2. The Title IX Coordinator shall review the investigation and the investigative report and may also conduct a reasonable investigation. 3. The Title IX Coordinator may assign two new investigators to the complaint and re investigate the complaint. 4. The Title IX Coordinator will prepare a written response to the appeal within fifteen (15) days. Copies of the response shall be provided to the complainant, the accused and the Title IX Investigators who conducted the initial investigation. Continued McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 29
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suspend the fact-finding aspect of a Title IX Investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence and that the District will promptly resume its Title IX Investigation as soon as notified by the law enforcement agency that it has completed the evidence gathering process, which typically takes three to ten calendar days, although the delay in the District’s investigation may be longer in certain instances. The District will implement appropriate interim steps during the law enforcement agency’s investigation period to provide for the safety of the victim(s) and the school community and the avoidance of retaliation. The report shall include
S chool D istrict P olicies
McKeesport Area School District Policies 5. The appeal will be conducted in an impartial manner by an impartial decision maker. Title IX Coordinator: Dr. Rula Skezas, 3590 O’Neil Boulevard, McKeesport PA 15132 – 412-664-3613
Respect: Students will respect and obey all adults who work for the McKeesport Area School District.
Cell Phone Policy M.A.S.D. School Board Policy #237 reads as follows: The Board prohibits use of personal communication devices by students during the school day in district buildings, on district property, and while students are attending school-sponsored activities… The district
C ity Mc Keesport of Mc Keesport ARE A SC HO N ews O L DI ST RI C T News
Weapons Policy Pennsylvania Crime Codes Section 907 and 912: Students will not be permitted to possess, handle, or transmit any weapon and/or weapon look-alike in any school district building, on school premises, on school bus, at any school sponsored activity, event and function. Section 907: Weapon shall mean anything capable of lethal use and possessed under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for lawful use which it may have. The term includes a firearm which is not loaded or lacks a clip or other component to render it immediately operable and components which can readily be assembled into a weapon. Section 912: Not withstanding the definition of weapon in Section 907, the term weapon shall include but not be limited to any firearm, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver, knife, razor, dagger, cutting instrument or tool, air rifle, air pistol, archery items, nunchaku, ninja device, blackjack, metal knuckles, club, chain, or any other instrument or implement capable of inflicting bodily injury.
shall not be liable for the loss, damage or misuse of any electronic device brought to school by a student... Violations of this policy by a student shall result in disciplinary action and may result in confiscation of the electronic device. Discussions of the M.A.S.D. School Board Policy Committee have granted exceptions to the prohibitions set forth in Policy #237 to be determined by building principals. Should an exception be granted to allow a student to bring a cell phone to school, the following must be understood: All cell phones are to be kept in the student’s locker during school/instructional hours. It should be understood that exceptions granted are done so with the understanding that cell phone use will only be permitted after the designated school/ instructional hours. Students in violation of these provisions will immediately have this privilege revoked as well as face disciplinary action. Attendance If your child has an extended illness or a chronic health problem, get documentation from your child’s physician and give it to the principal. The following information is taken from policy No. 204 of the McKeesport Area School District policy on attendance. The Board considers the following conditions to constitute reasonable cause for absence from school: illness, quarantine, recovery from accident, required court attendance, death in family, family educational trips, and educational tours and trips. All absences occasioned by observance of the student’s religion on a day approved by the Board as a religious holiday shall be excused. A penalty shall not be attached to an absence for a religious holiday. Excessive abuse of the School Attendance Policy may result in court referral and possible referral to the Board of School Directors. Parents are to be notified of all the proceedings. Tardiness: A child who arrives after the scheduled beginning time will be counted tardy. A late arriving student must report directly to the office for an admit slip. A note of explanation is required from a parent. Absence/ Tardies letters will be sent: 4 - Unexcused Tardies 5 days - Doctors excuse may be necessary for 3 or more in a row. 10 days - Letter and parent/guardian conference doctor’s excuses will be required. 20 days - Citation for hearing. 20+ days - May result in retention, expulsion, loss of privilege to attend or participate in school activities and/ or referrals to community agencies. For the complete policies please log onto www.mckasd.net and click on the policy tab.
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Great Success The first day of Kindergarten can be a very frightening and anxiety-filled day. Often, there is fear, foreboding, crying and panic... and that’s just with the parents! The McKeesport Area School District recognizes that the first day of kindergarten is a momentous occasion filled with many strong emotions on the part of the children and the parents. This led MASD to be one of the few districts in the Pennsylvania that invites parents to accompany their kindergartener to school, all day long, on the first day. Two hundred fifty-four (254) parents spent a full day with their kindergarteners over the three days of staggered start this year!
This initiative is called Kindergarten Staggered Start. It began nearly twenty years ago and is always a great success. It works like this: On the first three days of school, one third of the registered kindergarten class attends school each day. The parents of these children are asked to attend with them on their assigned day. The day begins for students and their parents with a ride on the very school bus that the children are assigned to ride for the school year. The bus ride is a big deal to the new students and their parents and riding the bus together addresses the unknown and eases fears for the years to come. Once at their building, the kindergarten teachers meet the children and parents at the door for a full day of school to begin. The parents meet, and get to know, their child’s teacher and principal. They are exposed, all day long, to the routines that their child will encounter daily. The teacher benefits by getting to know each parent and creates an open line of communication which cooperation is ensured going forward. Twice during this eventful day, parents are asked to briefly leave their children in the capable hands of their teachers and attend meetings with other school personnel who provide valuable information and assurances. During these times, the building principal introduces themselves and provides
information. The principal also introduces members of the district central administration. This year, Superintendent, Dr. Timothy Gabauer and Assistant Superintendent, Dr. Rula Skezas greeted and welcomed the parents. This provided an opportunity to talk about district-wide initiatives. Dr. Gabauer and Dr. Skezas also used the opportunity to personally thank parents for their school choice and offered an open-line of communication to their offices. The parents were also addressed by the school nurse, food service administrator, special education administrator and the building Parent-Teacher-Organization (PTO) representative. Hearing from these representatives, and being allowed to ask questions of them, allowed for a great number of questions to be addressed. The new and important academic initiatives were presented by the district’s curriculum director, Dr. Harry Bauman, and the
elementary reading and math coordinators. Amy Dellapenna, Elementary Reading Coordinator, spoke about the Keystone to Opportunity (KtO) Reading Support Grant and its impact in the elementary classrooms. Mrs. Dellapenna did a great job of encouraging and assuring the parents of their vital and valued role in the literacy growth of their children. The teacherleaders of the KtO Grant, Mary Lynn Zoscak, Mary Hultberg and Ashley Boyle modeled parent/child reading sessions. Jennifer Knight, the Elementary Math Coordinator, dazzled the crowd of parents with an engaging lesson that demonstrated the concepts of McKeesport’s newly adopted envision Math Program. The day ends with a ride home on the school bus. Children, parents and teachers have all shared a remarkable experience and built relationships that assure the educational experience has gotten off to a great start to carry them through many years to come! McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 31
C ity eesport McK of McKeesport ARE A SC HOOL News DI STRI C T N ews
Kindergarten Staggered Start Initiative
C ity of Mc Keesport N ews
he beautiful season of fall is upon us and so is the crisp weather. Hopefully everyone enjoyed their summer. The city had many activities available to residents and I expect that you took advantage of the many offerings ranging from International Village, Concerts in the Park, the Circus, and Kids Village Day. Ethnic music once again filled the air of Renzie Park, and dancers entertained the crowds that enjoyed the many food offerings at our annual festival. The Recreation Board worked hard in bringing these events to our residents and visitors, and still have a few more offerings this year that include the annual Halloween Parade at the Main Pavilion on October 26, and the Salute to Santa Parade that will be held on November 16, downtown. I want to give a special thanks to the International Village Committee for a wonderful “village” this year. International Village has been a tradition in the city for fifty-four years, and it just keeps getting better. This year flags from each participating country were added under the newly renovated Jakomas Blue Top Pavilion, and it was certainly a sight to see. These were a great complement to the Heritage Workshops that were held there. I can’t wait to see what year fifty-five holds! The McKeesport Message Campaign has been going strong since the beginning of the year. I’m sure that by now you have seen the signs in the windows of businesses and homes, in yards, and outside area places of worship. The group hopes to pass along the message that McKeesport has much to offer and that there are so many positive things happening in the city. Of course people always hear about crime on the television news, but positive things are always happening here that need more media coverage – things like the annual Soap Box Derby, Good Neighbor Day, International Village and the Concerts in the Park, to name a few. This group, which is a sub-committee of the Mayor’s Select Committee on Crime & Violence (which is open to any resident who would like to participate), wants to uplift the city and all of its residents. They have already involved the older children of the city with the “Respect” essay contest, and all children who took part in summer activities at
32 McKeesport Area
Photo by Gary Yon
LaRosa Boys & Girls Club with both coloring activities and a presentation/discussion. The committee would like to involve all city residents, so join in and help make McKeesport a better place for all. By now I hope that you’ve seen the improvements made to Renziehausen Park this year. The Jakomas Blue Top Pavilion has been upgraded and improvements included sanding, priming & painting the interior, and a new sign has been ordered to honor the late Mayor Jakomas. Jimmy Long Field has also had work this year on the dugouts, the first & third base fences, and drainage along the backstop. Earlier this year, the Jacob Woll Social Hall had the interior painted and a new roof was put on. All of these improvements were done in addition to the regular maintenance that is performed daily in the park such as that at the ballfields. These improvements have been made thanks to the assistance that the city receives from the Regional Asset District. Without their help, we wouldn’t be able to maintain our beautiful park, or bring you the many activities there such as the concerts, fishing derby, and International Village, to name a few. All of the children have settled back into their school routine. The city, along with the school district, look forward to the opening of the new Twin Rivers Primary/Intermediate School building. Construction has been coming along, and the school district will be opening the new building after the holiday break at the end of the year. With the return of students to school in this fall season, I want to wish all faculty, staff and students a wonderful and enriching school year.
You may have noticed some of the projects around town that MHC has worked on in the past. One of the major undertakings that they have assisted in is the demolition of the old Grandview
Elementary School and construction of Grandview Apartments. The site is now a 26 unit apartment building for the low income elderly whose rent is subsidized through HUD. Individuals interested in renting units may call 412.673.6942. One of the many satisfied clients of MHC is Florian & Eileen Mercea. “We have nothing but good to say about the Housing Corporation,” says Mrs. Mercea. “The contractors that they sent to our home were fabulous, and we’ve even called back one of them to do additional work for us. Our neighbors have even called Mr. Bender to do work for them. Jim & Angelia are wonderful people and have become our friends because of us meeting them through our home improvement project with the McKeesport Housing Corporation.” One of the other major projects that the Housing Corporation has participated in is the Elm Street Program in the Christy Park section of the city. This project brought sidewalks and benches to an area of the city where many people walk daily, and where prior to the program there were no sidewalks, making it very unsafe. Other Elm Street funds were supplied to homeowners in the Christy Park area of the city to improve the exteriors of their homes. Aside from her regular role as program coordinator, Angelia Christina also serves as Fair Housing Officer for the City of McKeesport. The Fair Housing Act makes it illegal to discriminate in the sale, rental, financing or insurance of a dwelling, or in any other type of housing related transaction on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin, age, color, disability or familial status. In Allegheny County, individuals are also protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The City of McKeesport and The McKeesport Housing Corporation are committed to affirmatively furthering fair housing and equal opportunities for all residents in the city. Ms. Christina is available to assist any city resident who feels that they have been discriminated against in this manner, and can be reached at 412.664.7003. In addition, if you’re interested in any of the programs that the McKeesport Housing Corporation has, you can contact them at that same phone number.
Houses that MHC has rehabilitated.
McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 33
C ity of McKeesport News
Founded in 1985, the McKeesport Housing Corporation has managed various programs that have totaled almost $19,000,000, to improve the housing stock of McKeesport. The corporation consists of Executive Director James Haughey, Program Director Angelia Christina, and Administrative Assistant Erin Lawrence. One other key member of this team has recently retired – Collections Manager Les Petras. Together, these four individuals have provided an invaluable service by helping many McKeesport residents improve their homes over the years. That almost $19,000,000 includes over 700 owner occupied rehabilitation projects, 61 home ownership opportunities which consist of 40 newly constructed homes, and 21 homes rehabilitated and sold to low/moderate income buyers. Their current projects include managing owner occupied rehabilitation for low to moderate income McKeesport homeowners who need to apply for funding to receive necessary repairs, and an accessibility modification program for both homeowners and landlords/tenants. The owner occupied rehab program focuses on code compliance, safety & security, and lead based paint hazards. MHC handles all of their own lead based paint evaluation and clearance on completed jobs. With the second program, they give assistance when applying for funding which is necessary to rehabilitate and/or modify homes with necessary components such as handicapped ramps, bathroom modifications, etc. With the aging population in the area, this program is especially needed to help people with mobility issues enjoy their homes to the fullest extent.
By Annette James
McKeesport Housing Corporation
SALUTE TO SANTA PARADE
WHITE OAK ROTARY INTERACT CLUB FLOAT
It’s once again time to make your plans for the Salute to Santa parade. The parade brings joy into the lives of the children young and old, both residents of McKeesport and of the surrounding area. The parade for this year is scheduled for November 16 at 11 a.m., and promises to be yet another great event. It will once again feature marching bands, floats, parade royalty and the star of the day himself, Santa. The McKeesport Recreation Board coordinates the parade each year, and is always looking to diversify and bring new talent to the parade. If any groups are interested in participating in the parade, please contact Annette James at 412.675.5020 x605.
By Annette James
C ity of Mc Keesport N ews
Pictures from 2012 Salute to Santa Parade
LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND – KDKA TV NEWS ANCHOR, HAROLD HAYES – KDKA TV REPORTER & 2013 SALUTE TO SANTA PARADE GRAND MARSHAL, KIMBERLY GILL – KDKA TV NEWS ANCHOR, MADELYN & JACOB CHEREPKO
CARNEGIE LIBRARY OF MCKEESPORT FLOAT GREATER PITTSBURGH SOAP BOX DERBY FLOAT
WEST MIFFLIN HIGH SCHOOL TITAN BAND 34 McKeesport Area
By Annette James
ERNIE OATNEAL - RECREATION COMMISSION MEMBER, LYNNE HAYES-FREELAND â&#x20AC;&#x201C; KDKA TV ANCHOR, SANTA, KIMBERLY GILL â&#x20AC;&#x201C; KDKA TV ANCHOR
MCKEESPORT AREA HIGH SCHOOL ROBOTICS TEAM
Even though the building that houses City Hall is over 120 years old, things there are always changing and evolving to meet the many needs of city residents. Recent changes there have been the naming of two department heads. The new Public Works Director is Steve Kondrosky, and Alfred J. Tedesco, Jr. has been hired as Community Development Director. Mr. Kondrosky is no stranger to the Public Works department, as he has served as Assistant Public Works Director for a total of seven years over different administrations. Upon the retirement of the past director, he was named and has assumed the duties as head of the department. The public works department consists of 26 men in the streets, traffic, and parks departments. These men do everything from maintaining Renzie Park to patching and paving streets. No job is too big or too small. Mr. Kondrosky had a working knowledge of the goings on of maintenance in the city in his role as Assistant Public Works Director, so his transition to the Director position has been seamless. According to Mr. Kondrosky, upcoming projects that will be taken on by public works include upgrading parking lots in the basketball area behind fire station number two in Renzie Park, continuous upgrades to the ballfields in the park (including lighting and backstops), and concession stands at the new ballfields. Other work already completed in the park this year included upgrading Jacob Woll Main Pavilion and the Blue Top Pavilion. As far as other projects outside of the park, work performed this year included completion of the bike trail from Locust to Water Streets (including the Memorial Park parking lot), repairs to the fountain at Kennedy Park, and improvements to Gergely Park. Mr. Tedesco is now a City employee heading up the Community Development Department. He was a 1995 graduate of McKeesport Area High School, and a 2001 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in Political Science and History. A City Council member since 2009, he stepped down from that position to accept his current post. During his time served on City Council, he was the Chairman of the Home Rule Charter committee. He was recently employed by Allegheny County in the Civil Division as a supervisor in the Finance Department. Prior positions held with the county since 2002 included that of Assistant Director of Computer Operations, and Director of External Collections. In his new role with the City, Mr. Tedesco will head the Community Development Department, which consists of personnel that includes the Building Inspector, Ordinance Officers and clerks. A lifelong resident of the 7th Ward, Mr. Tedesco looks forward to working together with the administration to make McKeesport a better place for all.
McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 35
C ity of McKeesport News
DEPARTMENT HEAD CHANGES AT
MCKEESPORT FIRE DEPARTMENT CHIEF KEVIN LUST
HEINZ ENDOWMENT/YOUTH CAST
C ity of Mc Keesport N ews
By Annette James
Recently, the city was awarded a grant from the Heinz Endowment for a program called Youth CAST (Community and Schools Together). This program will support the development of a community and schoolwide youth leadership program in partnership with the McKeesport YMCA, LaRosa Boys and Girls Club, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Carnegie Library of McKeesport, Urban Achievement, and McKeesport Area School District. Targeted programs in conjunction with these partners include service learning, community service, youth organizing and civic engagement opportunities for students in grades 6-12. It is a youth-driven, full service leadership and organizing initiative, with the desire to establish and expand a range of support services that focus on creating a high-quality, extended academic environment, and a positive social, emotional learning experience for youth. Programs available to youth participating in the program include leadership development workshops, conferences, and field study opportunities aimed at increasing the number of youth that are actively engaged in positive youth development and leadership activities with caring adults. McKeesport Area School District Superintendent Timothy Gabauer fully supports the program, and looks forward to working with the city. Other program leaders include Rev. Earlene Coleman from Bethlehem Baptist Church, and Jo Ellen Kenney from Carnegie Library of McKeesport. Ms. Kenney says, “I think that this approach of letting the
kids come up with the ideas and projects that THEY feel are important, and having the experience that someone is actually listening to them is a great way to go, and probably overdue. There are many kids in the city who are not involved with after-school activities or structured sports programs. They walk around saying, ‘there is nothing to do’– but they are so used to having nothing to do that they are not even sure what it is that they would like to do. Through the guidance of this program, maybe they can have an idea, express it, and then work to make it happen! Great potential for success!” Rev. Coleman is equally excited about the Youth CAST Program. She says, “I give two thumbs up to the Youth CAST Program. Our young people are not lacking in knowledge and technological skills; they need an avenue to show and develop their leadership skills. I believe the Youth CAST Program will further enhance their skills and develop community leaders. Contrary to what the news looks like, all of our young people are not out there making poor decisions. Many want to do more and to accomplish some great things – they just don’t know where to start. I believe the Youth CAST Program will prove to be an asset to our community and to our school district. Kudos to Keino Fitzpatrick and Mayor Cherepko for keeping it real. I believe they are what we say every Sunday with our youth – whether a task be large or small, do it well or not at all. Well done.”
Remember to Recycle! Just a reminder that recycling pickup is every other week on the same day as the garbage pickup. The next recycling pickup will be the week of Sept. 23. 36 McKeesport Area
nother terrific year of “Village” has come and gone. As usual, there were great food offerings, fantastic entertainment options on both the main stage and under the Blue Top, informative heritage education workshops, crafts, informational booths, a kids’ area, and an extraordinary patriotic grand finale followed by fireworks. The International Village committee members work hard all year long to bring this annual festival to McKeesporters near and far. Many former residents even plan their trips back home to coordinate with the dates of Village each year! The International Village Chairman said that he was pleased with the turnout this year, and looks forward to the 55th anniversary next year. Changes made a few years ago that include reconfiguring the seating area for the main stage, a covered seating area for enjoying the many treats that are available at the food booths, t-shirts to purchase, and heritage education workshops under the Blue Top reappeared once again to the pleasure of the crowds. Thanks to the many volunteers who handle everything from ordering merchandise, to cooking the delicious food that is sold, to picking up the garbage that is generated, another year of village was successful. Everyone looks forward to their favorite food offerings each year that include such venerable delicacies such as Continued on page 39
McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 37
C ity of McKeesport News
Written by Annette James Photos by Primetime Shots
C ity of Mc Keesport N ews
38 McKeesport Area
C ity of McKeesport News
stuffed grape leaves, fried vegetables, haluski, apple dumplings, roast beef sandwiches, and sweet potato pie, to name a few. Long lines traditionally form early for lamb, as well as other favorite offerings. Without the wonderful volunteers who cook the delicious food and man the booths to sell it, this annual fundraiser for many area churches would not be able to take place every year. Speaking of the many booths, this year food offerings were available from the following cultures: Austria, China, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hawaii, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mediterranean, Mexico, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Vietnam. Besides the food booths, informational booths were also represented by the following groups: McKeesport Alliance Church, Carnegie Free Library, The Daily News, Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport, McKeesport History & Heritage Center, McKeesport Police K-9s, McKeesport Little Theater, McKeesport Ministerium, McKeesport Symphony, McKeesport Tiger Football Boosters, McKeesport Trail Commission, Striffler Family Funeral Homes, and Tube City Community Media. Not to be left out were crafters who sold their wares under a large tent featuring ethnic handmade crafts, a kids’ zone play area, nightly polka party, and educational workshop presentations. Don’t forget the entertainment that was on the main stage – the many ethnic musicians, dancers and singers who performed were crowd favorites who return to perform year after year. All in all, another year of International Village memories have been made, and we all look forward to making more memories next year, during the 55th Annual International Village! McKeesport Area | Fall 2013 | icmags.com 39
Did you know?
The Queen Slept Here? By Jonathan Barnes
Long before people boasted, “George Washington slept here,” royalty graced the Mon Valley area. Queen Aliquippa was “queen” of the Seneca Nation and Iroquois Nation and respected by both the French and English colonials. Aliquippa’s title of queen was not an official designation, but represented a clan matron who wielded great authority. Royalty or not, she was a key player in the French and Indian War and was so crucial to the English war effort that a young George Washington felt obligated to visit her when he passed through the area in 1753. He brought her a wool coat and a bottle of rum when he stopped by her encampment in what is now the Highland Grove section of the city. “She really was the first queen of McKeesport, and a native American,” said Charles McCollester, a professor of industrial relations at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Historians believe the meeting between Aliquippa and the youthful Major Washington happened on a hilltop overlooking the Monongahela River. Local legend says the spot is near what is now McKeesport. Local lore also says Queen Aliquippa was buried at the site where the meeting actually occurred. Unfortunately, the exact spot’s location is lost to history. In 2003, McCollester and a group of McKeesport residents worked together to recognize the native queen's stay in the area. The Highland Grove Task Force got officials to place a blue state historical marker recognizing Aliquippa in the Highland Grove section of the city with the inscription: “QUEEN ALIQUIPPA” “An influential leader of the Seneca Nation in this area and ally of the British during the time of the French & Indian War. Encamped near here when George Washington paid respect to her, 1753. Died 1754; according to legend, buried nearby.” ■
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